All week San Diegans have been waiting to hear the details of a plan expected from Father Joe’s Village that would be a significant effort to change the direction of homelessness in San Diego. On Thursday, details of the plan were announced, to the tune of $531 million in investments to add 2,000 units of affordable housing to San Diego.
Lisa Halverstadt reports the plan is bold, requiring significant investment from both the public and private sectors, not to mention the political will to push through construction plans that often get bogged down in the normal process. And it’s a change of approach for Father Joe’s itself, which normally focus on shelters and services. “Current leaders at Father Joe’s have become convinced they must focus on permanent housing,” Halverstadt reports.
• The Union-Tribune breaks down some of the numbers of the proposal, like 760 new units and 1,240 units at 17 hotels and motels.
Unions Mum on Energy Overhaul
As San Diego mulls the possibility of taking over the job of buying the region’s power, a job it would take away from San Diego Gas and Electric, Ry Rivard points out how local labor unions have so far kept quiet about whether they support the plan. There are two chapters of the electrical worker labor union in San Diego, one of them is made up of SDG&E employees. They say they are working on formalizing their positions.
It could go two ways, Rivard writes. “If San Diego unions followed the path of Bay Area unions, labor here might send a letter saying there wasn’t a ‘snowball’s chance in hell’ of labor’s cooperation.” But plans to do this same thing in other cities haven’t always met with labor resistance. In Los Angeles, the local union welcomed the effort for its focus on local power generation and jobs.
• In related news, SDG&E’s parent company Sempra earned $7 billion in profit and paid zero taxes from 2008 to 2015, and in fact received $34 million back from the government. (Union-Tribune)
SANDAG Leaders on Accountability
Now that state assemblymembers have begun discussing a proposal to overhaul the way SANDAG works, board members of that agency are arguing such proposals should start at the local level, not from state mandate. Andrew Keatts decided to check in on all the questions, concerns and ideas for improvement SANDAG board members expressed at a recent meeting where it was revealed the agency had overshot projections to the tune of billions.
Spoiler alert: I hope you like the sound of crickets.
• If SANDAG has any money, one thing it might decide to do is install a pedestrian and bicycle “tube” on to the Coronado Bay Bridge. (NBC 7)
School Water Contamination Just Getting Started
With all the high technology we are throwing at our schools these days, none came in more handy in detecting the presence of toxins in one school’s water than a good old fashioned dog and his trusty nose. Served water from the tap in the classroom at San Diego Cooperative Charter School, the pooch declined. That’s when the teacher noticed something strange about the water.
Tests revealed multiple issues with the schools water, not the least of which was the presence of too much lead.
Mario Koran and Ry Rivard round up everything we know about toxic levels of lead at the campus, which is also home to Emerson-Bandini Elementary School. “Officials are setting off to test every school in the district,” they write. Unlike residences, schools’ water supplies don’t have to be periodically tested, so the what the results of the testing will be is anyone’s guess.
Soccer City: San Diego Explained
The battle for Qualcomm Stadium and its land is back in the spotlight now that a group associated with Major League Soccer is moving to get a proposal in front of voters for approval to build a stadium and an entertainment district. They’ve got one big problem right now, though: San Diego State University isn’t expressing support for the plan being proposed, but instead its leaders are saying they could do a project on their own. Scott Lewis and NBC 7’s Monica Dean teamed up to show what’s going down at the Q in our most recent San Diego Explained.
San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey tweeted that he had no opinion on the project as a whole but he did believe it should go to a public vote.
• The San Diego Reader takes a look at who is funding pricey perks for Mayor Faulconer’s staff, like a private jet and limo for his top homeless advisor Stacie Spector.
• You can now buy some of your trolley, bus and train tickets on your smart phone. (KPBS)
• Poway Unified is going into mediation in their dispute with former Superintendent John Collins over accusations he took improper payments. (Union-Tribune)
• The California State Teachers Retirement System “has about 63.7 percent of the assets it needs to pay the benefits it owes,” a $97 billion gap, the Sacremento Bee reports.
• In November, voters approved a $2 per pack tax on cigarettes. In April, smokers will start paying up. (KPBS)
• Police tools that monitor entire neighborhoods reveal how only one in four shootings are reported to police. (Union-Tribune)
• A San Diego judge has signaled approval for the settlement reached in the recent lawsuits involving Trump University. (New York Times)